Trump Agenda Beset by Remarkable Opposition on Many Fronts

Demonstrators at the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21. (PHOTO: JOHN MINCHILLO/ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Demonstrators at the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21. (PHOTO: JOHN MINCHILLO/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

President Donald Trump is confronting more opposition than any he faced in his campaign, or anything seen in the first weeks of a modern presidency, with protests, legal challenges, congressional opposition and parts of the federal bureaucracy mobilizing to resist.

After issuing a blizzard of executive orders that fueled expectations he would be a dominant force in Washington, Mr. Trump risks seeming more like Gulliver, the giant tied down by an army of resilient, if smaller, adversaries.

The anti-Trump resistance has helped block his immigration policy, slow his health-care agenda and cabinet nominees, force out a top adviser and a cabinet choice, and make many of his public appearances occasions for raucous protests.

The scope of opposition to Mr. Trump is remarkable for a new president. Others have faced protests and legal disputes, but none of the magnitude and persistence that Mr. Trump has encountered so early in his presidency.

Even George W. Bush, who took office after an emotionally contested election decided by the Supreme Court, didn’t face massive street protests the day after his inauguration, immediate legal challenges to his executive actions and such extensive attempts to block his cabinet nominations.

Mr. Trump this weekend is escaping the Washington battlefield for his seaside mansion in Florida. He plans to hold a political rally in Melbourne, Fla., today.

With the rally, as with his frequent public reflections on his electoral victory, Mr. Trump will likely get a taste of the simpler days of the presidential campaign. The rally also will help him remind Washington of the source of his power—his ability to draw thousands of passionate supporters.

During the general-election race, he faced a single adversary, Hillary Clinton. Now he is up against a federal bureaucracy including many who are opposed to his efforts, Democrats in Congress, media he has called in a tweet an “enemy of the American people,” and a nationwide network of liberal activists who have been mobilized by his presidency in a way that they weren’t by his campaign.

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The Wall Street Journal